Counting Towards Spring

| 4/9/2018 9:56:00 AM

Tags: Wisconsin, Laura Berlage, springtime, end of winter, migrations, maple syrup,

outdoor spring dining

While tulips, hanging flower baskets, hummingbirds, and having lunch outside aren’t here yet, we know they’re coming. 

It’s a ritual.  Breakfast time arrives after chores and opening up the shop, when Mom announces, “Did you hear the trumpeter swans fly over this morning?  Put that on the calendar!”  Up I jump, snatching a pen from the counter.  Amidst notes about the upcoming needle felting class, a doctor’s appointment, and the scheduled delivery of aquaponics lettuce to Northland College, I mark down the observed return of the swans.  I’d heard them too, scooting low over the house on their way dutifully north.

Each year, we watch and make note.  The first robin arrived just the other day, heralding that the snow is not over yet.  “Three snows on the robin’s tail,” the old-timers say.  Some years, it’s been “well, at LEAST three snows…” 

But don’t get glum about not being fully out of the woods with winter yet.  It’s been a beautiful spring—long strings of sunny days with crisp evenings to firm up the ground and our gravel lane.  No huge dump of snow since Birkie season, no torrential rains to cause flash flooding.  The deep snow is slowly collapsing in place, and sometime soon I’ll be able to trounce out to the garden and dig up that bed of carrots mulched last fall for late winter harvest.

I was a little eager to get at those carrots last week, piling all my necessary equipment on a sled (shovel, pitch fork, potato fork, plastic tote) and headed off across the yard.  Crunch, crunch, I kept sinking in over my knees.  When I finally reached where I thought the 100-foot row of carrots should be, there was no discernable markings in the dense blanket of snow.  No mound, no nothing.  Should have put a flag sticking up out of the end or something…a good idea to remember for next year.  So I just started digging.  45-minutes later, I found the bed of carrots, but I was too tuckered out to unearth more than a handful.  I’ll have to try for a rematch once the warm days have shrunk the snow-cover a bit more, and it’s less treacherous to even make it out to the garden.

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